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 Petrus Christus  (1410 - 1472 or 1473)

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About: Petrus Christus


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Lived/Active: Flemish      Known for: painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Petrus Christus was born in 1410 in Baerle, a town on the borders of Holland.  He moved to the prosperous merchant city of Bruges with his wife and became a free master in its painters' guild in 1444. He may have worked there first as an apprentice to Jan van Eyck. When he began to paint shortly after acquiring citizenship in Bruges, all of Europe seemed to be in dramatic flux, economically, socially, politically and artistically.  Looking at Christus' painting, you have the feeling of an artist puzzling things out.

Only twenty-five or twenty-six paintings, usually painted on panels made of oak, by this early Flemish master are known to exist today. In his private practice, he did extremely well with lucrative commissions for madonnas and portraits. Just before his death in 1472 or1473 he became Dean of the Painters' Guild.

It's startling to realize that, among other greatly revered Netherlandish painters, such as Jan van Eyck and Rogier van der Weyden, Christus holds a unique position as the artist who painted the first Northern image with a fully realized one-point perspective. It is assumed that his desire to do this was an effort to satisfy demands of the marketplace.  He wanted commissions from Italian collectors.

Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures, Album A.
Christopher Knight in the Los Angeles Times, June 3, 1994
Aline Saarinen in McCall's Magazine, August 1967
From the internet,

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